Singapore has seen an explosion in live entertainment productions in recent months, many of which quickly sell out to locals and tourists.
It has been challenging trying to pin down Lauretta Alabons. Since pandemic restrictions were relaxed, the co-founder of LAMC Productions, who is also known as “Singapore’s First Lady of Entertainment”, has been working around the clock to populate her events calendar with live music and comedy acts.
Case in point: at the start of June, she will host renowned South African funny man Masood Boomgaard for a one-night-only performance at the Victoria Theatre. But this is just the tip of Alabons’ iceberg.
“Performers and artists have been impacted by the pandemic and are ready to come out and see their fans,” she said, adding that there is also pent-up demand for shows.
Alabons is not alone in her sentiment about the thriving live entertainment industry in Singapore. These include concerts, musicals, theatre, sporting events, performances and exhibitions.
In the process, this has led to a mini boom in tourism, as many of these events – some of which are large-scale – attract foreigners to the city-state.
Earlier this year, Maestro Productions organised a one-night concert for Indian music producer and singer Anirudh Ravichander. All 12,000 tickets sold out in two days, with more than 20 per cent bought by foreign visitors.
“This underscores the popularity of Anirudh’s performances as well as the strong pent-up demand for good quality concerts here from foreigners who want to come to Singapore not just for the usual sightseeing tours,” said Parthiban Murugaiyan, who is the chairman and managing director of Maestro.
Recent acts brought in by LAMC have also seen similar breakdowns. It organised The Singapore Rockfest and hosted The Piano Guys, both of which saw 25 per cent of ticket buyers from overseas markets.
“The Singapore Rockfest was an opportunity to draw fans from Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Manila. Our first market is Malaysia, as many of the rock bands are not able to perform there,” Alabons told TTG Asia.
Some concertgoers even arrived on cruise ships, prompting Alabons to consider reaching out to cruise lines to package such unique local experiences for their passengers.
Parthiban attributes the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions and the love for globetrotting as among the key factors contributing to the spike in popularity of live performances.
He said: “Singapore’s trusted tourism brand name has attracted visitors to come here for events.
“I think it’s also the mindset of the people where balancing a good lifestyle has become a priority.”
A continuous encore
The industry is certainly rising to the occasion. Over at Marina Bay Sands, its vice president of regional entertainment, David Baxley, said the integrated resort is looking to grow its entertainment tourism segment from Singapore, South-east Asia and beyond.
“We set our eye on attracting entertainment seekers with the emphasis on providing a premium luxury experience. We expanded our scope beyond a traditional 90-minute performance to include pre- and post-event experiences,” he shared.
It seems to have worked, given how it repeatedly hosts sell-out shows. These include JJ Lin’s After the Rain concert in November 2021; South Korean hip-hop group Epik High’s concert in July 2022; and more recently, Hong Kong star Joey Yung’s concert in March 2023, which saw over 6,000 fans in attendance.
Additionally, in a reflection of the surging demand for great entertainment, Baxley said there were more than double the number of concerts, musicals and performances staged at Sands Theatre and Sands Expo & Convention Centre, from just 13 events in 2021 to 34 in 2022.
“Building on the momentum, we grew our entertainment repertoire by expanding our Sands Live concert series in 2023, which aims to showcase the biggest stars from Asia and beyond, across different venues and presentation styles,” he added.
At press time, veteran Taiwanese singer Zhao Chuan and South Korean megastars Rain and PSY are set to perform in April.
“The current entertainment landscape is highly competitive and the challenge lies in not just trying to secure the best international acts for Singapore, but also ensuring that the experience is unique and compelling enough to draw tourists,” Baxley pointed out.
And when these stars descend on Singapore, they bring a revenue boom to the country’s travel, hospitality and related businesses.
Maestro’s Parthiban said: “The multiplier effect on jobs and the Singapore’s economy can be substantial. By having more blockbuster shows here, we can also boost Singapore’s brand name and expand its range of offerings to lift tourism numbers and revenue.”